In vertebrates, molecular mechanisms dictate angioblasts' migration and subsequent differentiation into arteries and veins. In this study, we used a microarray screen to identify a novel member of the sucrose nonfermenting related kinase (snrk-1) family of serine/threonine kinases expressed specifically in the embryonic zebrafish vasculature and investigated its function in vivo. Using gain-and loss-of-function studies in vivo, we show that Snrk-1 plays an essential role in the migration, maintenance, and differentiation of angioblasts. The kinase function of Snrk-1 is critical for migration and maintenance, but not for the differentiation of angioblasts. In vitro, snrk-1 knockdown endothelial cells show only defects in migration. The snrk-1 gene acts downstream or parallel to notch and upstream of gridlock during artery-vein specification, and the human gene compensates for zebrafish snrk-1 knockdown, suggesting evolutionary conservation of function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology